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Vital new collaboration will drive action on cutting climate impact of UK food and drink

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Vital new collaboration will drive action on cutting climate impact of UK food and drink

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With estimates that food and drink consumed in the UK is responsible for around 35% of our territorial emissions, climate action NGO WRAP and WWF-UK have joined forces with eight of the UK’s largest retailers to standardise measurement and reporting of GHG emissions from food and drink, and drive action on cutting the environmental impact of our food and drink.

The Retailer Net Zero CAP (Collaborative Action Programme) aims to take the sector towards Net Zero at the pace needed to meet existing commitments and mitigate the devastating effects of climate change.

There is currently a range of different approaches and methods used to measure the carbon footprint of food and drink products, resulting in confusion and inefficiencies across the sector. The absence of a consistent methodology is creating an unreasonable burden on producers and suppliers in food supply chains, generating mistrust in environmental reporting data. It blocks meaningful action on reducing the impacts of our food system.

In an unprecedented move of pre-competitive collaboration in the highly competitive retail sector, eight leading retailers are coming together with WRAP and WWF to standardise how they measure and report on emissions data. This standardisation will remove an important barrier to the food sector’s ability to meet challenging environmental targets, and will increase trust and confidence in using this information to take action on high-impact areas. The collaboration will enable the sector to identify and address challenges that are too big or complex for individual businesses to tackle successfully alone.

The announcement builds upon the pledge to action on climate under the WWF’s Retailers’ Commitment for Nature group and WRAP’s Courtauld 2030 GHG target, which is aiming to achieve a 50% absolute reduction in emissions associated with UK food and drink by 2030.

WRAP and WWF have secured commitment from Aldi, Co-op, Lidl, M&S, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, and Waitrose, who represent around 80% of UK grocery retail market share, to a two-phased programme. The first phase, in 2023, will ensure consistent measurement and reporting of their scope 3 GHG emissions, building on the WRAP Scope 3 GHG measurement and protocols in May 2023, and the piloting of these with 17 businesses across the food supply chain.

It will also focus on scoping high-impact areas for collaboration to accelerate progress on reducing GHGs from the huge amount of our food that is sold in UK supermarkets. Phase 2, from 2024, will take action on these high-impact opportunities, and the investments needed to collaborate and meet targets. The programme will build an assessment of the action currently being undertaken by retailers on key areas of GHG mitigation and identify gaps. Using the Courtauld Commitment 2030 as a pre-existing governance vehicle, with widespread buy-in across the UK food sector, the programme will drive action on addressing these gaps.

Harriet Lamb, WRAP’s CEO explains: “We need to transform our food and drink system if we are to stand any chance of achieving our net zero goals and mitigate the worst impacts of the climate crisis. This is the challenge of our generation, and it is encouraging to see the UK’s leading retailers stepping up to this challenge with focus and determination. We’re looking forward to cracking the nut of consistent measurement and reporting on greenhouse gas emissions in food and drink supply chains (scope 3), so that we can unlock action to reduce those emissions at pace and at scale.”

Kate Norgrove, Executive Director of Advocacy and Campaigns at WWF, said: “The food on our plates is driving climate chaos and wreaking havoc on nature – our main ally in the fight against climate change. Urgent action to address this crisis is non-negotiable and we welcome this key step from leading food retailers to align the sector on climate measurement and reporting. Food businesses must now supercharge the pace of climate action through this programme, to put the food system on a sustainable footing and bring our world back to life.”

For more information visit wrap.org.uk

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Our team are on hand to discuss your business’s unique needs, balancing core business objectives and efficiencies with an expertise in environmental awareness. Contact us today on 01322 284455 or by emailing [email protected].

Get in touch
Our team are on hand to discuss your business’s unique needs, balancing core business objectives and efficiencies with an expertise in environmental awareness. Contact us today on 01322 284455 or by emailing [email protected].

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Bold Thinking, Reliable Execution